Falcons clinch top southeast tourney seed

TMHS defeats JD 62-43 on Friday night

Another first was recorded in the history books as the Thunder Mountain High School Falcons


A) clinched the southeast regular season title and are the Region V tournament's top seed, and

B) beat the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears for the first time in the Thunderdome.

"It feels great to win at home against JD," Falcons senior Josh Tupou said. "It is a big accomplishment and we did it as a team. We exposed some of their weaknesses and played together."

The Falcons (6-1 conference,  17-6 overall) never trailed in the game, hitting three triples from beyond the arch in the first quarter and closing with a 9-1 scoring run and a 16-7 advantage over the Crimson Bears (3-4, 8-15). Senior Matt Seymour, Ty Grussendorf and Josh Tupou tallied the long balls and junior Ben Jahn hit two buckets inside.

After the Falcons scored the first bucket of the second quarter, JDHS seniors Gary Speck and Jeffrey Pusich led the visitors  on a 9-2 run to close within two points, 18-16 with 4:41 remaining in the half. Speck hit 7-8 at the free throw line in the stanza and the Crimson Bears closed to within four points, 27-23 at the break.

The Falcons went up by 10 points at the 5:11 mark of the third period and when JDHS' Pusich scored to cut the lead to eight, the Falcons responded with a Sam Jahn jumper and Vili Tupou's deep triple. TMHS led 44-32 starting the final quarter and went on a 12-2 run to open a 20-point lead with 2:44 remaining that put the game out of reach.

"It was everyone playing together," TMHS coach John Blasco said. "Holding on to the lead in the third quarter was crucial and the momentum stayed with us. We knew they would come at us hungry and I am so proud of our guys for responding with such a solid effort."

Seymour and B. Jahn scored 13 points apiece, S. Jahn scored 12 and had 9 rebounds, Vili Tupou 12 points with 4 RB, 5 assists and 1 steal, J. Tupou five points, Grussendorf and Travis Johnson three apiece, Jacob Calloway and Rohan Kishore two each.

TMHS was 9-15 at the charity stripe and 22-36 from the field; JDHS went 20-28 at the line and 11-29. The Falcons had 12 turnovers to the Crimson Bears' six.

JDHS' senior Aquino Brinson led with a game-high 16 points (2 steals), Pusich 12 points, Speck seven (6 RB), John Yadao three, Phillip Fenumiai and Keith Ainsworth two apiece, and Bruce Jones one.

"We could not get a stop in the second half," JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. "They did a good job of making hard cuts and dribble drives that got them into good scoring position. We put pressure on them in the first half by attacking them and drawing fouls."

The two teams play again tonight at 8 p.m. Falcons senior appreciations will be done after the girl's game (6:15 p.m.) and before the start of the boy's game.

The Friday loss means that JDHS will open Region V tournament play against Ketchikan (2-6) and TMHS will await the winner of that game in the semifinals.


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